A brand new restaurant has opened in Bridgeport Village just across from the north-east corner of the parking terrace. Agave Grill features artisan Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. The menu has a few traditional favorites such as tacos and enchiladas but focuses more on original fusion dishes. They offer various choices of meat as well as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
The meal begins with a basket of chips and a bowl of house-made salsa, first round on the house. You can add two additional varieties of salsa from the daily selection for $3, which we tried. Today’s choices were salsa verde and a fruity salsa with mango, pineapple and jicama. They weren’t bad, but the best of the three was probably the red salsa that came with the chips initially. All three salsas were a bit weak in the spice department for our tastes. We prefer them with a bit more bite.
For our entrees we had Layuda and Chilaquiles, both with carnitas (pork). A Layuda is sort of a mexican pizza. This is the first time I’d seen it on a menu in a Mexican restaurant. The hand-tossed crust is topped with refried beans, onion, cheese, and your choice of meat. There is a vegetarian option as well with roasted vegetables.
I had never had a Layuda before, and I’d like to try it again, but I wasn’t particularly impressed with the one we had at Agave. The crust of tasted a bit floury to us, and overall it seemed a bit bland. I think I’d have liked it better if I’d had a little extra salsa to dip it in, but we used all of ours with the chips.
The Chilaquiles was better. Chilaquiles is often called a “Mexican casserole.” Agave’s rendition of this dish defaults to vegetarian, with tortilla pieces mixed in with oven-roasted vegetables and a tomato-pumpkin seed sauce, but feel free to add some meat for a couple extra bucks. It was good with carnitas. The sauce was surprisingly sweet, with a hint of cinnamon and other spices that often accompany pumpkin. Not quite what I was expecting, but the only thing left on my plate at the end of the meal were a bit of the beans and green rice, Agave’s version of Spanish rice.
Agave seems like a good place to go if you want to try something different in the Mexican cuisine. They have tacos and enchiladas on the menu, but the price seemed a bit steep for taqueria fare. Everything else on the menu seemed a bit out of the ordinary, though, so perhaps they’ve put a good spin on the staples as well. Maybe it’s worth a shot.
Though some of what we had seemed a bit bland or light on the spice, if Agave switches the menu up a bit, we’d happily give it another try.
7361 SW Bridgeport Rd
Portland, OR 97224